Not so Current

Al Gore says the internet isn’t as powerful as TV. He says the goal is to drive content from the internet to TV. That’s what my West Virginia father would call bassackwards. YouTube serves 100 million videos a day. I dare say that Current on cable doesn’t have nearly its audience — it reaches 20 million homes but only a tiny fraction of those watch, as with any of so many cable channels, but it is because of his cable deals that he doesn’t put his “best” content online. Also, Current is not nearly so open to the creations and voices of the citizens as YouTube and the internet as a whole. LATER: I wasn’t being clear above. I think it is a fine and proper ambition to make TV more porous, as a BBC exec said, bringing the voices of the people onto the big screen. But big, old TV is by no means the only game in town and the real goal is to break down the barriers so people need not care where or when they watch (or create) something, so long as they do it.

  • RonP

    once a buffoon, always a buffoon.

  • jsmclean

    Mr. Gore is on to something, though probably not for the reasons he thinks. Truth is, computer network technologies still have to deal with divides: economic, technological, linguistic etc. that limit access to the Internet. The discourses that take place in cyberspace are, for the most part, opaque. If knowledgeable people, such as Mr. Jarvis here. priorize and privilege certain discourses on their blogs, they stand to gain in their ritual value by being picked up by mass media and disseminated through normative means. It’s perhaps time to get away from singularities and start looking at cyber communication as a layer of technological practice that contributes significantly to thought and action in public space, whatever that may be, but still works best when it complements mass media and vice versa.

  • Akshun J

    Although YouTube serves over 100 million VIDEOS per day, who knows how many unique individuals visit the site. I think that Gore’s point more accurately reflects the fact that the internet does not reach an many people as we think it does. That is, for more than just an email or a quick google search. Plain old television, thanks to new HD technologies and TIVO convergence, is exploding in popularity. TV is STILL the king of living rooms and it simply will be for MANY years to come. Too much innovation is going on with that right now. The internet, on the other hand, has pretty much popped. Sure broadband is cheap, as well as computer hardware. But, the same level of innovation is simply NOT going on here. Promises of Web 2.0 and such are cool, for those of us cool enough to know what that is. Otherwise, most people are still far more comfortable jabbing their Digital Cable remote than their keyboard. The internet is still a bunch of the same people talking to themselves. I’m SURE this will change soon, but it hasn’t yet…

  • The media aspects of Web 2.0 are heading for a bust. When it shakes out, we will see major players emerge, and that’s when you can start to evaluate how online media will impact culture. However, I suspect that content quality will take a dive. After all, You Tube may serve millions of videos every day, but most of the stuff they already serve is complete crap. With such an availability of video online, very few are doing anything interesting with it. I think we’ve got a lot of hype around programming that is at public access levels. When the major players with deep pockets enter the game, more people are going to be drawn to the slick, well-produced stuff…and most innovation, creativity and talent will be wasted on mediocrity.

  • Am I crazy to suggest that quality is still an issue on Youtube vs. Current. I know there are many great videos on youtube. But do you really think that the Youtube videos featuring “lazydork” which are regularly on the front page compare to the “Returning to Hezbollah” segment on Current?

  • 100 million videos viewed per day vs 20 million homes isn’t the correct comparison. You need to get your hands on the number of 90-second pods that people watch on Current in a given day.

  • penny

    Truth is, computer network technologies still have to deal with divides: economic, technological, linguistic etc. that limit access to the Internet.

    Hardly. The world is rapidly being wired, computer prices having fallen so precipitously that they are affordable to just about anyone above a subsistence level, small kids can click and point, and language can be translated rapidly or with software. The US actually lags many countries in internet access.

    There is nothing opaque about cyberspace. You can find what you want in an instant, check the facts, correct them instantly and you have a dialogue with a person with a specialized skill set or knowledge base. It’s transparent. Lies and factual errors get corrected quickly. Most humans are honest. It’s user friendly. Bloggers are taking their cameras, knowledge base, and interviewing skills to places all around the globe. Residents of Iraq, Israel and Lebanon have blogs in English. Many produce far better analysis of their lives and political situations than the vaucous boobs on the airwaves and in print.

    You don’t seem to get around much. As the MSM continues to degrade itself as with the 24/7 coverage of John Mark Karr and it’s not so surprising Dan Rathers and doctored photos and serious omissions and anonymous sources and biases, most of us have moved on.

  • Penny –

    Only a very small part of the world is not becoming “wired.”

    Many people in many parts of the world cannot afford even the cheapest computers.

    While the U.S. lags behind many countries in Internet access, many contries lag behind the U.S.

    You might be able to find the facts you want in an instant, but I wouldn’t recomend fact-checking a story without picking up the phone.

    Most humans are not honest, they’re greedy.

    While bloggers are reporting news, they are doing so with their own bias.

    Why is it important that Iraqis, Israelis and Lebanese have blogs in English?

    Online media is destined to become mainstream media with the same faults and problems as Dan Rather and his ilk.

  • Gore “invents” the internet, and then later says it’s not as important as TV?

    Does that just make the internet another failed Democratic program?

  • jsmclean

    Dear Penny,

    Brooklyn Kitchen has done an admirable job of responding to many of your claims concerning my comments above in a far more succinct and eloquent manner than I could hope to achieve. I won’t belabour the discussion.

    However, and to the contrary, I do “get around” quite a bit. Usually this involves shoe leather and talking to people. So perhaps I am a dinosaur (a far more successful life form than ours, up to a point).

    Having said this, I would ask you to consider just how the wealth of content on the web is organized and navigated? How is it that you arrived at and bookmarked this site, for example? How do you use your search engines? How do you find the issues and discussions that appeal to you in a potentially limitless many-to-many conversation of global scope?
    You input key words of your choice. You see what comes up that interests you. You make a choice about what to keep and what to discard. In other words, your biases guide your decisions.

    And by the way, I speak a language other than English. The translation technologies that supposedly address language divides produce material that is at best, um, bad. Let’s hope it gets better. Soon.

    Mr. Jarvis is quite right in his addendum to the original post above. Big old television is not the only game in town. It never was. And making it more porous through discussions in places such as this one is an admirable aim. Television, and radio, and newspapers still have the ability and the responsibility to organize a “clearing” for the discussion of matters pertaining to the public(s) good. The Internet’s contribution to the discussion is undisputed. But let’s keep in mind that it, too, aint the only kid on the block. And even in a world of vertical and horizontal media integration it will still be faced with certain significant limitiations.
    Nuff said.

  • Brooklyn Kitchen uses his second sentence to contradict his first and then wins plaudits from an ESL dope.

    Logically speaking, “I won’t belabor the discussion” shouldn’t precede an additional four incoherent paragraphs.

    However I do concur with “Nuff said.”

  • And where does print come into all of this? As a writer (a novelist) who uses the internet for research and increasingly for promotional purposes, my main concern is quality and veracity. Access is marvelous, and the instantaneous transmission of news I care about is great, but I limit my consumption to sites where someone is filtering for the issues of truth and just plain taste. YouTubes doesn’t interest me, but the Huffington Post does, for example. This site is new to me, and the sophistication of (most of) the comments impresses me, so that I’ll come back. There may be millions of hits all over the internet, but I suspect many of them are repeats, and that we continue to segment ourselves according to our interests and, of course, our biases.

  • penny

    Having said this, I would ask you to consider just how the wealth of content on the web is organized and navigated? How is it that you arrived at and bookmarked this site, for example? How do you use your search engines? How do you find the issues and discussions that appeal to you in a potentially limitless many-to-many conversation of global scope?

    It’s very simple to accomplish those tasks. Anyone can do it. I have had for years a blog site which I share with family and friends. It’s most important function is that it is where I organize what I want from the web: MSM links, periodical links, blog sites, retail shopping links, whatever I want. I can add to them, change them, delete them. Anyone can avail themselves with a free blogger site and build their own relevant links. This is exponentially people are doing.

    Don’t we all insert bias in the newspapers and magazines we subscribe to or the tv channels we select? I don’t see your point. If a search engine returns conflicting sides to an issue, then I’m free to examine both. Can’t do that instantly with the fixed print on a newspaper. Better to read the article online.

    Television, and radio, and newspapers still have the ability and the responsibility to organize a “clearing” for the discussion of matters pertaining to the public(s) good

    But, are they acting in any qualitative or relevant manner anymore? And, that’s the point. Perhaps, what the MSM wants to discuss isn’t what we want to discuss like their 24/7 John Mark Karr garbage. Nor should a handful of editors have a monopoly on what they deem is in the public’s best interest. Case in point, we have diminishing 9/11 anniversary coverage, because the media has decided that it isn’t in the public’s best interest, too gruesome, not nuanced, too politically friendly to Bush. Are they acting out of feedback from the public? I doubt it.

  • Ethan

    hey penny,
    i’d really like to know when “the media” decided that 9/11 was “too friendly” to bush. enterprising citizen journalist that you are, i’m sure you can point me to a specific meeting that took place.

  • penny

    Place? Try any of the highly politicized anti-Bush editorial offices of the NYT’s, BBC, CNN, ABC, MSNBC, LA Times, CBC, The Guardian, Reuters, etc.

  • Ethan

    Again, I’m looking for specifics penny! You alleged some kind of broad conspiracy among media outlets…if you can point to a specific meeting, that’d be great. If not, you’re just a crazy fucking paranoid.

  • John

    In my opinion, Mr. Gore is right.

    98.2% of US households have televisions
    64% of US households have internet access

    end of story.

  • penny

    Of course, there is no specific meeting that I can present with my eavesdropping equipment, you idiot. That as the challenge to my statement is beyond lame. If you haven’t noticed 5 years of collective anti-Bush bias with the Usual Suspects I cited, then, you are brain dead.

    What you “want”, only a moron would entertain as a serious question.

    It’s revealing how fast you’ve morphed into a crude mouthed punk.

    And, please, don’t bother to reply.

  • tdw


    While it is clear that you are enamored of the American lexicon and thesaurus, your true colors are revealed when presented with arguments in contrast to your own view. Obviously your opinion of your own intellect and command of the language is, shall we say, celestial. Unfortunately for you, you have been revealed as a pouting bully. Resorting to name-calling and attitude are the simple resort/retort of the uninventive and lazy conscience.

    To back the response, may I present a a direct quote from yourself: “…you idiot …is beyond lame …you are brain dead …only a moron… It’s revealing how fast you’ve morphed into a crude mouthed punk”.

    For shame. My respect has dwindled.

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  • Ethan

    who knew that the only way to find out the details of a particular meeting is to use eavesdropping equipment? you know, there’s this thing called sources. a real citizen journalist should be able to find and use them.
    what some call bush bias, others call reporting the damn news. if it’s not pleasing to bush and his minions, that’s not the fault of the news–that’s the fault of bush. unless, of course, there was a plan to systematically attack and criticize the administration. if you can present evidence of such a plan, you deserve a pulitzer. but you obviously can’t. you can’t even argue a point without resorting to name-calling of the worst sort.

  • “Most humans are honest.” ?

    Honestly ignorant, yet overflowing with Rush Limbaugh like hubris.

    “Know Thyself” obviously means knowing that any thoughts you have cum from God. Socrates was considered to be the wisest of men because he he could quote Apollo by heart? Not!

  • Too many of these thoughts actually came from Karl Rove?

  • Virulent prejudicial thoughts released from the subconcious of millions by Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, et. al. Zombie apes who dream they are theological experts – able to read tall bibles, literally, well, not actually read, but know what mommy, daddy, & backwoods preacher told me.

  • Hey CaptiousNut, show me where I contradict myself! I don’t understand.

    And, by the way, you sound like a jerk when you call somebody an ‘ESL dope.’ Are you a jerk?

  • david

    Next president? I think not! We need one with a Brain! Hillary Clinton At least she can decipher t.v. from internet. We All Know the net is and, from now on be the most powererful media there has been and will always be. Gore ,Keep your mouth shut. we all know you want office but, It Just won’t Happen. go back to school. You were a piss-por vice to begin with. stay in tenn and get a real life farm the feilds,pick cotton, do what you are best at , keep your mouth shut, and let the u.s.a.take care of things as, It it is very obvious you need to concentrate on divocing your downfall(Tipper,To tipsy Gore.)

  • leigh


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  • jsmclean

    Dear CaptiousNut,

    Forgive me. Should have been clearer. I should have said I spoke a language in addition to English when I was talking about how translation technology doesn’t work all that well.
    Guess that makes me an EFL dope!
    Have a nice day.

  • penny

    tdw – so what have you outed me at? Smacking down a potty mouthed dimwitted bully in his own style? I’m guilty. Big deal. Deal with it.

  • 1-2-Oscar

    I wonder if this is the same “Penny” who participated regularly on several years ago. The superior tone she adopts, the unwillingness to consider the arguments of others; all these are eerily similar.

    That “Penny” claimed to be an Australian, but was the world’s foremost authority on everything American.

  • TV is a corpse serving up the same old mummified stuff–football games, sit coms, quiz shows, talk shows, the lies-and-more-damn-lies news shows (that as Jon Stewart has shown are already parodies of themselves) which nobody watches–I barely watch TV of any sort anymore (maybe Letterman if a decent band is on, but that band will already have its stuff on Youtube). It’s only matter of time before everyone has their own channel (i.e. it they want it) via the internet. For me, Tv’s dead. Been dead for a long time. RIP

  • Poster

    Jeff’s Buzzmachine picture shows him on MSNBC (tv, not website)… Was this intended for irony or validation?

  • richard

    Al (Who) Gore; not important what he says. I say Hillary Clinton president; Al Vice President; Jimmy Carter Sec of State. Now that s what I call a ticket.
    Will Bill vote for his wife? Any comments.

  • John

    i would NEVER vote for Hilary Clinton for president. It has nothing to do with democrats or republicans or man or woman, it’s just that she is Hilary Clinton. Her actions as a senator have proven to me that having Hilary Clinton in office would be the equivalent of having Tipper Gore as our president. America needs help, a role model…not a mother-like figure to tell us what video games we shouldn’t play because they have too much violence in them. She’s just not fit for the job, and trust me, the majority of america will feel the same way if she runs…and in 2008 there will be yet ANOTHER republican president in office.

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